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May 06, 2019

GHTC delivers statement on access to medicines at HHS WHA listening session

GHTC delivered the following statement, on the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda item 11.7, access to vaccines and medicines, on May 6, 2019 at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) WHA stakeholder listening session: 

GHTC observes that supporting access to new technologies is complex, and failures to achieve widespread access to health technologies in low-resource settings are rarely due to a single issue. Barriers to access are best overcome when approached holistically, over the long-term, addressing affordability, availability, acceptability, and sustainability. Through its roadmap, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sought to create a broad framework to address the challenges and concerns around access to medicines.

We encourage the US delegation to support a comprehensive approach to addressing barriers to accessing essential health technologies. Over recent years, significant progress in addressing regulatory barriers to access has been made, and WHO intends to continue building on their work in this area. Sound regulatory support for access to medicines ensures both timely access to medicines, as well as appropriate safety guidelines and pharmacovigilance activities. Technical standards and assistance supporting systems in achieving these targets have historically been viewed as falling within WHO’s core technical mandate.

We also urge the US delegation to support the expansion of the Essential Diagnostic List. Diagnostic tests are critical tools for health care, providing vital information that impacts the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, management of disease, surveillance and epidemiology. We strongly support WHO’s goal of increasing access to appropriate, affordable, quality-assured and effective diagnostics in underserved regions of the world.

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